Currently- Pop Culture



Having a newborn is a weird period where you have no time, because you are super busy except when you aren't. I'm still managing to take in some decent pop culture. Here's what I'm listening to // watching // reading atm.

Reading
I've been sticking to one book at a time for the past year or so, but right now I'm in the middle of about four.

Watching
  • Peaky Blinders
    • Tank got me started on this after the baby was born, and we burned through the first two seasons. Thankfully Season 3 will be available at the end of the month- perfect timing!
  • Arrow 

Listening To
  • You're the Best Song by Bethany Dillon
    • this song was played at church on Mother's Day...let's just cue the tears right now okay?


What are you into at the moment?

She Has Arrived!

If you are on Twitter, you may have picked up on the fact that the baby is here!

There's so much to say and I don't know where to start. 

For the time being, here is a picture of my new life. 


The Child (Sort of) Without Television

Guest post from Tim at That Tiny Website

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I’m not to the point where I’m having kids yet. 

I’m really okay with that. 

I have friends and family members who have kids and while I enjoy being around those kids (at least for the most part), there’s things I’m definitely not comfortable with as a potential parent yet. Whether it be the cost of raising a child, the prospect of losing the extremely little free time I do have, or just the simple annoyance of people saying your baby is cute when it’s really not, there’s a lot of aspects of raising a kid I’m just not ready for at this moment in my life.

One strange thing I’m not sure if I’m ready for as a potential parent is the explosion of television that would surely happen in my household if there were a child around. 

I have a niece who is a toddler that loves watching television. Which is fine. I mean, watching the same movies over and over gets annoying – The Land Before Time films weren’t that good when I was a child, let alone when you have to watch them repeatedly as an adult – but all in all at least the child has the potential to learn from television.

As a child, I really didn’t have much exposure to television at home. While we had a TV around, screen time was limited for most of my childhood. Both my mom and dad (my parents were divorced, so separate households) strongly preferred my brother and I played outside to being inside, and when we were watching television, they had control over what was on TV at all times. Watching TV with my dad wasn’t so bad, as he tended to mix content between cartoons, James Bond films, and history documentaries. Watching with my mom meant that a lot of biblical stories, ’60s Westerns, and old timey musicals were on, so I usually just went back outside to play more.

There was a gap though – roughly from the age of 7 to the age of 14 – that the TV was almost never on. 

At my dad’s, it was because we generally didn’t have cable or electricity at a given time (sometimes both), and at my mom’s it was because we were required to read the Bible for an hour a day before we did anything else (and even then, chores came next). At the peak age where most children watch television, I spent most of my time reading, playing outside, or practicing my trumpet. I can’t fully fathom a potential child not having at least some of that same experience.

On one hand, I recognize that the previous sentence makes me sound like an old person who is out of touch with the realities of a rapidly changing, technologically advancing world. 

After all, I’m typing this blog post out on my work computer while my iPad beside me auto-plays a game, my person computer plays Crash Course World History, and I occasionally check my phone for texts from my friends. It’s a bit hypocritical to not give children access to better technologies than you had access to as a child, particularly when you use those same technologies heavily in your day-to-day life.

On the other hand, I also recognize that one of the most responsible actions you can take as a parent is to diversify your child’s upbringing as much as you possibly can. 

Surrounding your child with people of different cultures, faiths, beliefs, and opinions allows them to not only learn that the world is a complex place with many different types of individuals, but it also allows them to avoid the narrow-minded opinions and belief systems that can hamstring their personal, social, and intellectual development as they grow.

On top of all that, there has been an explosion of great educational content – both for children and adults – over the last 5-10 years. You’re no longer required as a parent to watch Frozen 45 times in a weekend because it’s the only thing safe for your child to watch. Though you might still…and I’m very, very sorry for you if that happens. 

But the technology and content is out there to raise our children to be more intelligent, compassionate, and accepting human beings, all well before they start school. 

We should take advantage of that whenever we have the opportunity. Even me, once I decide I’m at that stage of life.

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Tim makes some great points! I certainly hope I can fight the technology takeover and provide Baby May with tactile experiences like parks, zoos, libraries, etc. But also unstructured play is incredibly important to encourage creativity and independence. 

Cruise Packing List: For Non-Fashion Bloggers


packing notes from our May 2015 cruise to the Bahamas!

********************************************************************

Before my cruise, I did a ton of research. Both on the Carnival site (FAQ & forums) and on blogs, mostly found through Pinterest. I wasn’t sure what I needed to take, as far as items or clothing.

I found lots of cruise packing lists. When it came to the items, people were pretty consistent.

There were some things I never would have thought of that ended up being really helpful. For instance, the over the door hanger– it was really nice to have all our sunscreens, aloe vera lotion, sunglasses, gum, chapsticks, hairbows, etc all in one convenient location. While the room was bigger than I expected, it would been easy to lose small items without this. We also took a clock and a small fan for the room. I took some magnetic hooks– not super strong ones, but they held our lanyards with our Sail & Sign cards. Also a mesh laundry bag, just because it was nice to have dirty clothes corralled instead of all over the floor. And an empty duffel bag for souvenirs– we didn’t actually buy a lot of souvenirs, but somehow still filled this (we actually put all our dirty clothes in it to make washing clothes easier when we got home- but our original suitcases still felt really full somehow).

The Sail & Sign card is something every Carnival passenger gets before you even get on the ship: it’s a combination of ID and charge card. You swipe it each time you get on and off the ship, and also anytime you buy anything on the ship *coughboozecough* You can buy Carnival lanyards on the ship, for a price, or you could take your own. I took one from my work, and we used the ones that came from the holders we took for our passports & camera phones.


I purchased this waterproof passport holder as well as this waterproof iPhone case from Amazon.com. I don’t actually remember if we used the passport holder in the water- pretty sure we did and it was fine. Either way, it was super handy to carry our IDs and boarding passes for getting on & off the ship. And the iPhone case did GREAT! Our friend who bought the same one had some issues with her’s being a little blurry- I think it depends on how tight of a seal you get, and possibly getting sunscreen on it (I got sunscreen on my camera lens in Nassau & had similar problems). But it took great pictures and videos, even under the water! And the sound was good too. My husband had a Windows phone that’s pretty large (way bigger than my iPhone 5) and it fit fine. This is also what I used in Nassau to carry my passport (and the thing someone tried to steal-story here in my Carnival cruise review).

Besides the stuff, there were a few posts about what to wear on the cruise. I read so many fashionable cruise packing lists.

The problem? Pretty sure they were all written by fashion bloggers, or at least very fashionable people. And I am not a very fashionable person.

So, I’m giving you the advice I wish someone had given me regarding what to wear on a tropical cruise.

Casual wear 

Here is what I took for my casual outfits- to be worn around the boat, on the beach, and in port cities
  • 2 bathing suits (one not pictured)
  •  1 matching cover-up (the blue thing under the striped bathing suit top)
  •  2 pairs of shorts
  • 2 tank tops
  • 2 shorts
  • 1 maxi dress
  • 1 floppy hat
  • Also not pictured- sunglasses, of course


I ended up wearing the blue jean shorts twice with each of the tank tops (one the first day on the boat & one in Nassau), the cover-up something like 3 times (at Half Moon Cay, and on both sea days), and the maxi dress (which I actually wore to dinner, not in port as planned). I wore one of the tees and the brown shorts to get off the boat, but they were too small (I bought them a few years ago & almost never wear shorts, so I hadn’t really spent much time in them lately).  I changed into jeans as soon as we got back to our car (I wore jeans & a hoodie for the trip down to Jacksonville, but left them in the car).  The floppy hat was helpful to keep the sun off my face in Nassau- but made my face really dark for photos. Just something to consider- maybe that’s why so many of the nice fashion-blogger people recommend fedoras instead.

 

Dinner Wear:

 

 

please ignore the mess, I was in packing mode!

 Carnival has “cruise casual” dress code for most nights in the formal dining rooms, and one “elegant” night (on my 5 day cruise). The dress on the right is what I wore to elegant night (from Kohl’s, but I do not see it on their website), and I feel like it was perfect. I was comfortable and felt dressy without being overly dressed. Some people wore gowns or prom dresses- some wore everyday jeans (supposedly they can choose to turn you away for not following the dress code, but I didn’t see this happen). I wore the other dresses to dinner on the other nights (except the blue dress, I ended up not wearing it at all).

The black pashmina (which is a fancy word sometimes used for “really big scarf”) was a great purchase- went with all my dresses (my friend wore the same one with jeans & a tee a few nights and also looked nice) and helped in the chilly A/C rooms. Oh, and I took one bracelet+one watch+two silver necklaces (one long & one short).









Not gonna lie, even though cruise packing is supposed to be all about mixing & matching and reusing items, I took 5 pairs of shoes on a five day cruise- including two pairs of black sandals. I’m not even sorry. Not pictured are my Rainbow flip flops, which I wore all around the ship & in Nassau, and my cheap-o rubber flip flops which I wore to the pool and the beach at Half Moon Cay. I wore the black sandals to dinner, and the tan wedges for the elegant night. Looking back, if anything I would have not taken the wedges just because they’re bigger & I only wore them once, but they did look great with the dress. Although I wore only sandals, I did take lots of socks to wear around the hotel room & at night.

What I didn’t pack but wish I did:

Another cover-up, one pair each of jeans, leggings, & yoga pants along with a hoodie or cardigan. I took two suits and only one cover-up, it worked but it would have been nice to not be in the same thing all the time, or worry that it would be dry the next day (it always was, but a back-up would have been better).

After two days of being outside in the Bahamas, the A/C on the ship started feeling cold. The night after Nassau and our last day on the ship, I saw way more long pants & shirts than in the beginning when it was all tank tops & shorts. Also, the morning we got off the ship we were waiting in the theater and it was so freakin’ cold!

The leggings could have went under any of my dresses & still looked nice, and the jeans/yoga pants would have been good to have during the late night shows or inside activities- they could have been paired with one of the tee-shirts and the sweater/hoodie.
This is a pretty woman-centric list, because that’s what I am.

 

For the dudes:

My husband took one pair of dress khakis, a black dress shirt, a tie, & black dress shoes for elegant night. For casual wear he took two bathing suits, three pairs of shorts (two cargo- one not), two or three button up short sleeved shirts, something like 5 tee-shirts, a pair of Rainbow flip-flops, & tennis shoes (which he wore onto the ship because his feet are huge & they would have been tough to pack). That’s all I remember- where I packed over the course of a week, he did it mostly in a day or two. Drove me batty, but worked.

 

I hope this helps! If you’ve taken a cruise, is there anything you wish you had packed but didn’t- or did pack but didn’t use?

Carnival Cruise Review: Half Moon Cay & Nassau on the Fascination


 

[from the archives]
 originally posted June 2015
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A few weeks ago my husband & I went on our first cruise with Carnival Cruse Lines. We were aboard the Carnival Fascination which left out of Jacksonville, Florida and traveled to Half Moon Cay and Nassau in the Bahamas.

It. Was. Awesome!

I’ve heard a lot of people who go on cruises tend to go on multiple cruises, and I totally understand why. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, or if I would like being on a ship that long. But even though it was by far the longest and biggest vacation my husband and I have ever been on together, it was soooo relaxing and enjoyable!

This is a super long review of Carnival Cruise:

Getting on & off the boat:



I’m really glad we decided to drive to Jacksonville the day before our cruise- it was nice not to be in a rush. Our ship was scheduled to leave Jacksonville at 4:00 pm, and I think you could start boarding around noon. We checked out of our hotel at 11:00 and headed straight to the port. Even though it was before 12, there were people there already. We parked near the exit (so it would be easier to leave), and walked over to the ship. 

The check-in process was much more organized than I expected: we just gave our big bags to a guy outside the building (with our luggage tags on them identifying our ship cabin & name) and went through the lines with our carry-ons. There were several hundred people already, but it was well organized and everyone told you exactly where to go. I do recommend having all travel documents in easy to reach places, because you’ll show them a lot. We were on board probably by 1 pm.

Getting off the boat was more complicated, it just didn’t seem as well organized and we had to wait longer. That being said, if you carry off your bags you get off faster. We met in a designated space, waited about an hour for them to call our floor, walked down several floors carrying all our bags which took maybe 20 minutes, and rolled straight off through customs and to our vehicle. We were out of the port & stopping for food by 10:00 am.

The Ship:



We were aboard the Carnival Fascination. This is one of the smallest and oldest Carnival ships, as far as I know. 

When I say smallest…it still held something like 2500 passengers plus around 900 crew. It was obvious that some of the decor was outdated, just faded carpets and upholstery etc. However, everything in our room was very clean and things seemed well kept.I’ve definitely stayed in worse hotels, and I would go back aboard it again. There was still plenty to do (mini-golf, a pool- although smaller than I expected, multiple hot tubs, clubs, shops, and a theater). Also a spa & gym & sooooo many lounge chairs to lay out in (although they do fill up FAST on the days at sea). While it didn’t have quite as many bells & whistles as the newer ships, I think it was a good ship for first time cruisers. Still big enough to get lost on but small enough that it was easy enough to walk around.

We had an interior room, so no outside view.  

Personally I really enjoyed it- it got so dark in that room that you could sleep wonderfully anytime of the day. This was really helpful in the afternoons– a lot of time (especially on the port days) we would want a nap between our daily activities and our late dinners. Also some of the shows start late (around 11:15) so I definitely needed a nap to enjoy both daytime and nighttime activities! After talking to the other couple at our table who had a balcony room, hubby really wants to do that next so who knows. 

I was actually surprised by the space in our room, I thought it was going to be terribly small but I didn’t feel crowded(maybe just because I had low expectations). I think it depends on the layout of the room- the other couple who went with us had a different layout and it didn’t feel quite as spacious IMO. Also interior and lower level rooms are where you will feel the movement of the ship the least- which is good for those who are prone to sea sickness.

The Dining:

The food was good- some was great, some was not. I enjoyed the buffets on the Lido deck, which run almost 24/7. There are always hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos & chicken tenders (which were amazing). There were different styles of food on different days, but those were the constant and were good. The food in the formal dining rooms was very good, if you ordered the right thing. The salmon, the lobster, the steak, and the turkey I remember being really great (or other people saying were really great). 

The “comfort foods” are not worth ordering- I saw literally no American staff on the ship, and I think the cooks probably fit that pattern and are not used to cooking meatloaf and fried chicken (those were the only meals anyone did not eat). That being said, if you don’t like something you just request another one! You’ve paid for it all already, and they’ll bring you whatever you ask for (it just may take a while for the second order). There was one night where there were multiple appetizers that sounded good, so everyone at our table ordered two of them (to be fair, they were small).
I actually really enjoyed the portion sizes- you get bread, an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert as a standard meal (they give a menu and you choose one [or two or three] of each). I felt full but not stuffed by the end of dinner. You have to pay if you want anything other than water, lemonade, or tea to drink (either at the Lido deck or the formal dinner).

Also, our wait staff was amazing. Our head waiter was Lois from Columbia. He was so polite, so accommodating, so funny, and could dance. They sang and/or danced something like 3-4 nights out of the cruse, and one night they danced to the apple-bottom jeans song and it was amazing. Seeing him each night was truly a highlight of our trip.

We didn’t start ordering room service until the last day or two- but it was really good! And free/included (except for tips- you’re expected to tip for everything, and anything with a charge automatically comes with a 15% gratuity added so pay attention to that).

Half Moon Cay:


 Half Moon Cay is the private island owned by Carnival. Beforehand I really expected this to be too commercial and boring.

It was hands down my favorite part of the cruise.

We had to take a tender boat (almost like a pontoon boat) to the island- the water is too shallow for the cruise ship to port directly on it, so it anchors in the water and you take a smaller boat over to the island. Since we had an excursion planned, our tickets told us where to be and when.

There are some shops and stuff when you first come in- I didn’t visit any of these. 

We did a stingray excursion which was cheap (I think $30 a person) first thing. We were in a little cove with maybe a dozen stingrays and tons of little fish, with water shoes & snorkel gear provided by Carnival (you could bring your own if you so desired). I was way more scared than I expected! The sting-rays just sort of glide around and you never really know what they are doing or where they are going. 

After a few minutes of snorkeling, we all stood in a circle and were given a tiny squid to feed the sting-rays. At this point we were told to keep our hands out of the water, so the sting-rays could be corralled to each individual to feed. My husband did not listen, and one of the tiny fish decided to go after the squid and bit his finger. He deserved it.

While we were each waiting our turn the sting-rays just randomly squeezed in between us and would literally push out of the way to go where they wanted. It was actually less scary than when we were snorkeling, because I didn’t see them coming and they just feel smooth when they brush by you. Apparently I was holding the squid too tightly, because the sting-ray didn’t take it from me haha! The guide told me to loosen up and then the sting-ray kind of vacuumed it out of my hand.

After this we went to the beach. I was worried that since we had done an excursion first, there wouldn’t be any beach  chairs left for us. Carnival has cabins and chairs already settled on the beach so all you have to bring are the beach towels provided in your cabin- it was great. We found chairs pretty easily and then visited the Captain Morgan’s Bar of course.

Lunch was provided from around 11-2 I think. It was simple, but good. I don’t eat a lot when I’m on the beach anyway, because I can’t eat while I’m hot. Most of the day was spent in the gorgeous ocean though. Seriously, most beautiful place I’ve ever been. It was relaxing and simple and pretty and there was plenty of booze around and there was literally nothing more to ask for.
The last tender left at 4:00, we started back to the port around 3:15 just to be sure and headed back to the ship.

Nassau:



This was for sure the only rough day on the whole trip. 

I’m not blaming Nassau- I’m blaming us. 

I wish we had done an excursion there instead of in HMC. It’s really easy to walk off the ship, literally you walk off & are in Nassau. Right off the boat there are people asking you to take their tour, visit their part of the beach, etc etc. I had read about this and was okay, but it was a bit intimidating. I’d also read that Nassau is small…which it is, but not as small as I thought it was and not small enough to walk around as easily as I expected. We visited the straw market- which had some awesome things but you have to haggle and the vendors are a little pushy. Again, not blaming them, but I suck at haggling and you can’t really browse quietly. There are some shops that have set prices closer to the port and I wish I had stuck with those, although we did get a few souvenirs at the straw market which I love.

We grabbed a map and decided to visit Queen’s Staircase.Unfortunately, the map didn’t include all the smaller streets and they don’t really have blocks- it’s kind of confusing. We ended up walking through random neighborhoods for at least 20-30 minutes before a cab driver who had passed us 2 or 3 times stopped and kind of insisted we get in. The security level had been raised that day and the girl we were with had originally really not wanted to take a cab- but at this point we were so hot and tired and stressed and it was worth it. He took us to the staircase (which we never would have found on our own) and informed us that apparently the area we had been walking through was the hood. Yay, us and totally paying attention to the security advice to stay in the touristy areas. 

The staircase was cool, and apparently it was in one of Tank’s video games so that was awesome for him. At the bottom there was a bathroom so we all went in to use it. I saw a lady sitting on the steps hand something to my friend, but I didn’t register what it was till she handed me something too as I walked by and it was toilet paper. 

We were rationed toilet paper by a stranger.

We walked back through town now that we kind knew where we were and were going to have lunch at Senior Frogs which is right by the port. But…it was so freakin’ expensive (like almost 20$ for a few tacos) and I could literally see the ship which had free food on it. So we went back and ate at the Lido deck, and then were all too frazzled to go back into Nassau. I felt really bad, and wished I had purchased more souvenirs, and in general better planned the day. But I know for next time. Again, not blaming Nassau. Just wish we had planned something or taken up one of the tours.

Although, fun fact- pretty sure someone did try to steal my passport. I had it in a plastic container strapped in my back pocket, tied to my belt loop. We had stopped on the street trying to figure out WTF we were, and reapplying sunscreen. I was slightly bent over spraying my legs, and a girl walked by and either tried to feel me up or steal my passport. She didn’t, and there was no cash in there (we had carried only small bills and had them divided between people and pockets per the security advisement…and just common sense). But she for sure touched my ass, so that’s fun.

The next day was a full day at sea, and the morning after that we were back in the US.

Overall I loved the experience- having everything on the boat and having so much prepaid was amazing!

There was almost nothing to worry about- if you forget something in the room, it takes ten minutes to go get it & be back. There were comedy shows and game shows and places to lay out and booze constantly being brought to you. It was fantastic! I highly recommend it, and we are already trying to figure out when we can go on another one

No one is paying me for this, in anyway. I mean, I wish they would- please, send me on another one Carnival! I love you! I legitimately had an amazing experience.

Have you been on a cruise? What did you think?

Why Am I Not a Writer?



In my little online world, there are several people who are writing books. I blame a lot of this on NaNoWriMo, where people attempt to write a book (or maybe just so many words) within a month. Seeing as how I am a 20something millenial, most of the online friends I have also fall into this camp and have attempted NaNoWriMo.

The premise sounds crazy to me. Almost like a goal immediately doomed to fail from the beginning.

And from what I understand, many do.

That's okay. I think the point of NaNoWriMo is to kickstart something, not necessarily complete it (even though people do, and those people are awesome). Anyone who has even attempted NaNoWriMo is awesome, and certainly a better writer than me because they are trying and actually writing.

I used to love to write.

In elementary school I made up stories all the time- I've found them decades later and been embarrased of the simplistic style and short-sighted views. But still, I was writing. I even wrote poetry when I was in junior high school. Terrible stuff, but I did it.

I had words that had to come out.

In college I turned to blogging. But that has mostly been me-centric. It's about the events that are going on in my life, or the pop culture I'm taking in. Sometimes it has stretched out to be about current events, but overall...it's not stories.

It's still a release. It's still something that, no matter how hard I have to push myself to get started, I breath a sigh of relief and think "Man, I feel so much better" after I do.

There are still words that need to come out.

I think somewhere along the line, I became scared to put myself out there. Not necessarily because someone might think I am a bad writer- that's certainly going to happen.

But because I would fail. Writing seems hard. Writing seems gut-wrenching. And I have a marriage and a family and IRL friends who already think I'm crazy for reading books, much less wanting to write one.

And writing during college? If it wasn't a term paper, I wouldn't have had time.


In a lot of ways, I feel like this is something that I should be attempting. 

I have a lot of the same characteristics as most writers I've heard from- read a lot, wrote as a child, blogger (which is a type of writing, if not the same as writing a novel). The idea sounds like something I would do.

Lately I've almost wanted to attempt it. 

But I don't think I would be serious enough to be worth it. It would take my time away from blogging, and probably from my marriage, and now my baby.

The saddest realization, though, is the knowledge that at some point, I became scared of my imagination.

I couldn't write my life story. That would be entirely too vulnerable.

So if I wrote, it would be something that probably had the same starting point as my life but went in a completely different direction. Something so made up that it couldn't be me- but people usually think it is.

I wouldn't want to have to defend things, or not explore an idea fully because of what so-and-so might think.

At the end of the day, that's why I'm not a writer. Too scared. Too complacent in putting my effort into other things. 

Do you ever look at something and go, why not me?

Favorie Books: High School


Not going to lie, this is really going to be more of a "What I did and did not like reading in high school" lists versus an actual favorite.

High school is, of course, filled with classics. 

A few I even loved- The Scarlett Letter, The Crucible, The Poisonwood Bible for starters (what is it with books starting with "The?").

Brave New World was probably my first dystopian novel, and while I never expected to I actually found it really interesting and still have my first copy.

I also remember liking


 Along with "The" books, I was also touched by books like Night and Speak.

Now, on to the books I really did not like.

I friggin' despise Lord of the Flies. Maybe it's just that I read it at a bad time in my life- my now-husband/then-boyfriend had just left for basic, there was some family drama, I was a high school senior desperately trying to get into college so I could escape my hometown. And the story of these psychotic boys literally made me sick. I remember watching the movie in class and literally laying my head down like a child so I wouldn't have to watch it. I felt like I was going to throw up- this is still my reaction to any mention of the book today. I don't think any other book has ever had such a visceral impact on my being.

I also read The Great Gatsby, and found it way overrated. The recent craze has made me wonder if I should go back to it...but again, ugh. I also disliked The Awakening by Kate Chopin...it's supposedly this big feminist story and so inspiring...but I found it pathetic and annoying and lame. Man, I really couldn't escape The's back then.

What books did you love or hate while you were in high school?

Taking It for Granted



I'm at the end of my pregnancy. Literally any day now, I could become a mother. Depending on who you talk to, I already am.

But she will be here soon.

Instead of just a lump in my belly, there will be a tiny human being who is counting on me (and Tank) to help her survive life.

I'm so ready- in more ways than one.

My body is tired, and uncomfortable. My mind and heart are growing impatient and overwhelmed with the unknown and the excitement of hope.

But...there are times when I remind myself to be present in this moment.

It is insane to feel movement that doesn't really belong to me. Sometimes it's a shove on my bladder, or a pinch of a nerve that somehow sends my hip into numbness.

It's odd. A part of me, the stubborn and independent part I'm very proud of, rebels against this still. Who is this tiny person in there? What is she doing? How do I not know more about her?

At the moment it's just a big stomach...but I know it's more. I know this is something special I'm experiencing.

Sometimes I feel bad about that. I will get caught up at work, or realize I haven't felt her move since getting up that day. It's because moving around actually puts babies to sleep (they are most active when moms are least active). Or because I am doing something crazy, like paying attention to my job.

Then she moves around, and I think for the millionth time how I need to record her odd, alien like movements that make my comically round stomach swell like the ocean.

Or I remember how many women have went through thousands of dollars and untold amounts of energy to try and experience that odd sensation of having someone else move your organs.

I have always pushed myself to think of motherhood as involving a mother and a child, which does not always involve pregnancy.

There are many paths to motherhood.

I've tried so hard to support that fact- and it is indeed a fact, no matter how many others don't want to acknowledge the other paths.

I've almost ignored the pregnancy route, just because it's so often held up as the only route.

I struggle with writing about my pregnancy, wanting to be realistic but worrying about being too mushy or upsetting to others who haven't/can't/aren't going to be on this route themselves.

But at the same time, I don't want to ignore this. I don't want to take it for granted. 

Because it is an adventure, and feels like a fun science experiment my body is participating in without my control. I always thought it was super weird to see other women's stomachs move when the baby starts going wild...but it's so cool when it's mine (others, including my husband and close friends, have not always shared this sentiment- which I understand, again it's only cool when it's happening to me).

So I'm documenting it. We took the maternity pictures. I fill out the "belly book" my MIL got me soon after we told her. I have an album of biweekly-to-weekly photos that I glance back at to see all the physical changes I've gone through over the course of 40 weeks. I've written bits and pieces here, because I wanted to look back and see some of the mental and emotional changes as well.

I'm documenting it, and I'm not taking it for granted.

Favorite Books: Jr High



For some reason, this is the hardest section of my Favorite Books series. I cannot remember hardly anything about what I read while in junior high.

I blame this on the fact that 1) I simply read so much at the time, and 2) I read so randomly. 

I would just go to the library and pick out literally anything that caught my eye.

The only certainties I can remember are below:

Little Women: I may have read this in elementary school, but it was around this time...and I definitely reread it about a million times. So we'll stick it here.

Sweet Valley High/College series- this one is not new. Many people who fit the same demographic as me (age/gender/race) probably read this series.

It's possible that I also read my first John Green book around this time, An Abundance of Katherines, as I distinctly remember getting this from my local library. Again, not sure if it was junior high or high school. But I certainly did not know about he full John Green/Nerdfighter community at the time.

I definitely read The Giver, for Battle of the Books, which I need to go back and reread. And The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.

I think this is when I read Bridge to Terabithia, which I also don't remember much about but is probably one of the first books I cried about.

At the end of junior high, my grandma passed away. She was also a reader, and one of my greatest gifts are the books I received upon her passing. Included was Born In Ice, which lead me to my favorite romance writer today and one of my favorite series- the Born In series by Nora Roberts. Not meant for YA, but I literally read everything pretty much from 7th grade on so it wasn't a surprise.


Is there anything special you remember reading in junior high/middle school?